I don’t even know where to start with this as this topic has hit me personally in a couple of different ways over the last few months. Although totally separate, due to circumstance, they are also linked. Ok, so I’m done with ambiguity and I’ll just get to the whole point of why I’m writing.
My grandfather passed away December 24, 2014. He had cancer everywhere. He was diagnosed in October and dead before the end of December. Harshly put but it portrays the disdain I am feeling at the moment. Yes the loss is still fresh but so is the bitter taste in my mouth of the absolute incompetence of the medical field.
:sigh: All right, to be fair, not all of those within the medical field are incompetent, just the ones that saw my grandfather. And that doesn’t just include the doctors, but the so-called trained technicians in radiology as well.
He had been in such pain for months but hid it well until it got so bad he actually had limited mobility of his right arm. They took x-rays on more than one occasion and each time they said he had a torn rotator cuff. Oh, should I mention that he was 94 years old? They prescribed physiotherapy. The therapist asked him what he had done to tear it. My grandfather explained there was no accident or trauma that caused it. The therapist was perplexed as he said 99.9% of the time, injuries such as this was caused by trauma, and doesn’t just happen.
Well, turns out the physiotherapist knew what he was talking about.
My grandfather had gone to the local hospital several times as the pain was just unbearable and each time, the torn rotator cuff was confirmed.
It was decided he’d go to a different hospital this last time. What a difference the staff here made.
Within moments of his x-ray, they threw the diagnosis of a torn rotator cuff out the window. The intense pain he was feeling was from bits of his bone coming away. He had bone cancer and it was literally eating away at him. The prognosis was not good. They said at this advanced stage, he could last hours to days. They didn’t think he’d make it much past the days part. Guess they didn’t know how damn stubborn this family can be.
They did all they could for him, they also tried to find out the original source of the cancer. They gave him a blood transfusion to help give him some time to prepare but they said it was only temporary. My grandfather has always been a practical man. Even after only just a matter of a handful of hours of being given a death sentence, he opted for a DNR. The doctor fully explained what they meant and he used an actual scenario to help explain to make sure he was making an informed decision. Although it was hard for all of us to bear on top of everything else, we knew that doing otherwise was for us, and not for him. To fight him on that decision would have been 100% selfish on our parts.
He was also determined to spend what time he had left with my grandmother. Two years previous, we had to admit her into a home as she has Alzheimer’s and was proving to be far too much for my grandfather to handle, even when one of us would try to be there before and after work to help out. That was the first time they had been separated since they had gotten married a day before D-Day. Yes folks, they are old. 🙂
Now he was extremely fortunate in the fact that he was able to get in to that particular home as well as room with my grandmother. The most we had expected was at least the same wing. To actually get them in the same room made us all very happy.
If you’ve never watched a family or friend suffer from cancer, you won’t truly appreciate the description of them wasting away to half their former selves. But that is quite literally what happens. And it is devastating to watch. To see the person you love literally disappear before your eyes and there is not a god damned thing you can do about it but be there for them. Show them support by literally just being in the same room as them. Even though some nights, afternoons, mornings, he slept through the entire visit, he’d make noise in response if we spoke about him or spoke to him.
We tried to remember that our grandmother was watching this, sometimes confused but loving all this company and that we had an obligation to do regular activities for her, to simply get her out of the room for a change in scenery as well as a more pleasant atmosphere once in a while.
My daughter is very fortunate to have grown up with both my grandparents. Not many kids her age (21 yrs) can say they knew their great-grandparents, let alone having them take her out on outings etc., but she can. Her great-great grandmother was alive when she was born also. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a chance to meet as Gran lived in England and my daughter didn’t get the opportunity to fly over until after she had passed.
Hmmmm….seems I have seriously digressed. The original cause of his cancer was his prostate. Which had been tested in AUGUST that same year and given the all clear. A mere TWO MONTHS before he’d been given his death sentence!
I don’t care that he was 94. Don’t spout at me about he’s had a long life etc. Incompetence it was. Prostate cancer so advanced it had spread to everywhere. His bones riddled with cancer so much so, they were literally falling to pieces. You cannot tell me that those who looked at those radiographs didn’t fail at their jobs. Each and every time he had them done. One set maybe I could see. But several?
I don’t think so.
Angry? You betcha! I watched a wonderful man suffer in a way I’d never wish on my greatest enemy. I’m angry at him being taken from us like he was. I’m angry at those with the knowledge dropping the ball and leaving an old man in severe pain for months. I’m angry because I saw how devastated his loss was to my baby girl. As a parent, that is the most helpless feeling in the world. To see your child hurting and there is naught you can do but be there and try and comfort them, knowing it’s only a bandaid and that eventually, time will dull the pain but the loss will always be felt.
Rest in Peace Grandad. We all love you and miss you.
September 19, 1920 ~ December 24, 2014
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